Why Controversy Can Help Your Business

by | Social Media Marketing | 1 comment

A lot of business professionals are afraid of controversy for fear of people being offended or losing customers due to differing opinions. While there is definitely risk involved in controversy, posting controversial content—whether it be written, video, or pictures—can actually help you stand out from the crowd.

Controversial marketing is also known as shock marketing. This is a marketing strategy involving sparking interest in customers with out of the box thinking and opinions that stray from the norm. Using controversial marketing strategies can give your business the visibility boost that you need to gain more customers and increase sales—don’t be afraid of it.

Why Does Controversy Work?

Controversy does more than just get a few people mad, it has a psychological effect on our brains. The reason controversy works is that when you share something controversial people remember. As humans, we remember things that shock us, scare us, or offend us the most.

So a simple blog post about something out of the ordinary that gets people's’ attention will have a lasting effect on their memory. This is good for your brand because your name will become active in people’s minds and vocabulary for weeks or even months after the controversy.

Controversy Can Actually Be Good for Business

Being controversial can benefit your business by putting your brand in the spotlight. There will always be people who disagree with what you have to say no matter what you do. You have to learn to block out the negative comments and remember that all publicity is good publicity.

Making a bold statement isn’t something a lot of businesses have the guts to do. If you muster up enough courage to put something controversial out there, there’s no doubt that your company’s visibility will grow. Whether it’s through social media or word of mouth, a controversial move will get people talking.

Look at Starbuck’s red cup Christmas campaign as an excellent example of a marketing strategy that riled up controversy and exponentially increased the company’s visibility.

Where There’s Controversy, There’s Feedback

Unfortunately, there’s a dark side to being controversial. While it will definitely get your name out there, it can also bring with it negative feedback and backlash. This negativity can come in the form of social media comments, reviews, and even news coverage. You just have to be prepared to handle it and know how to defend your actions.

Remember that with every negative comment comes a positive source of support and even a potential increase in sales. The goal of being controversial is hoping that your risk paid off, and the support is greater than the backlash.

If you do happen to receive a lot of negative feedback, here are some helpful tips for how to manage it.

  • Enlist the help of experts and statistics that will tell you how different segments of the population will respond to your controversial content.
  • Turn a blind eye to negative comments, only respond and engage with the positive ones.
  • Never get into an argument on social media, it will only make your brand look bad.
  • Always stick to your guns. Remember that you posted something you and your company believed in, so you need to backup your decision.


Don’t be afraid of controversy. Instead, embrace the opportunity to implement a marketing strategy that can benefit your business and engage your customers.


For more tips on how to boost your business’ marketing strategies, check out our blog post “How to Transform Your Brand Online Visibility.”